BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Pets

The best dog crate

Which dog crates are best?

Having a safe and comfortable place to retreat to when you feel tired or stressed is a must for everyone, even your dog. A crate can provide your pup with their own private spot to relax when they’re afraid or need some down time. Additionally, crates are an invaluable tool when potty training your puppy or when they’re still learning what not to chew. 

Some crates are perfect for traveling with your pet, and others are built into furniture to be less disruptive to your home’s interior design. Midwest Homes for Pets Life Stages Folding Metal Crate is easy to assemble and folds down for storage. 

What to know before you buy a dog crate


Dogs come in all different sizes and so do their crates. It feels natural to select a large crate for your dog, but smaller spaces actually make them feel more secure. You want the crate to be large enough for your dog to comfortably stand, lay down, sit and turn around. To translate this concept into inches, measure your dog from their nose to the base of their tail and from the floor to the top of their head when sitting. Add 2-4 inches to these measurements, and these are the approximate dimensions on the proper kennel size for your dog. 

Open vs. closed sides

Some dog crates, like those made from wire, have open sides. A crate with open sides is better for airflow, which is important if you live somewhere hot or your dog’s crate is used outside. This type of crate can keep your dog cool and allow you to keep a closer eye on them. 

Crates with enclosed sides make for a cozy, warm place for your dog to relax. If there’s a draft where you place the dog crate, enclosed sides can protect your dog. Enclosed sides can also give your dog a stronger sense of security while inside their crate. If you’re traveling with a dog in a crate, this can help them feel less exposed. You can achieve an enclosed effect with an open-sided crate by placing a blanket over it when it’s cold or at night.


If you’re purchasing a crate for your dog to keep them safe while you’re gone, it’s important to consider how easy it is for them to escape the crate you’ve chosen. Dogs most often escape by chewing, manipulating the locking mechanism or using force to bend a hole large enough for them to slip out. 

A dog determined to get out can easily chew through fabric crates used for travel. Dogs can also chew flimsy connecting parts that lead to the crate falling apart. A bored dog can figure out how to open latches in a surprisingly limited amount of time. While having a secure crate is important, the easiest way to prevent your dog from trying to escape is to make sure they’re crate-trained and not left for too long inside it. 

What to look for in a quality dog crate


Plastic: Plastic dog crates are usually solid on the sides and the back with a wire door on the front. These dog crates are lightweight and may have a handle attached on the top for travel. To clean a plastic crate, simply spray it down with a hose. The enclosed sides make your dog feel safe and secure but can lead to a hotter internal temperature because there’s less airflow. These types of crates are popular for use in the car or when flying with your dog.

Wire: Wire dog crates are a smart choice for use inside the home. They have excellent airflow to keep your dog cool if you live in a hot climate. Most have a removable plastic tray in the bottom that makes for easy cleaning. They’re often adjustable, and you can section them off to accommodate your dog’s growth. Many are foldable, which makes them easy to transport, except that the metal wiring can be heavy. Some nervous dogs might not like the open sides because it makes them feel exposed. 

Fabric: If you’re looking for the easiest crate to travel with, a fabric crate is the way to go. These crates are extremely lightweight, foldable and may come with straps or a storage bag. With their soft construction material, fabric crates can be more comfortable for your dog to lounge in. If your dog is an escape artist, fabric crates aren’t the right choice since they’re easily chewed through. They’re also much more difficult to keep clean than plastic or wire crates. 

How much you can expect to spend on a dog crate 

The price of a dog crate has a lot to do with the size you purchase. If you have a smaller dog, you can expect to spend between $20 for a wire crate and $50 for a fabric crate. For larger dogs, you can expect to spend $100-$150. 

Dog crate FAQ

How long can my dog stay in a crate?

A. Adult dogs can be in their crate for 6-8 hours. However, according to PetMD, if you’re going to crate your pet all day while you’re at work, you really shouldn’t expect them to be in the crate all night too. Puppies can only stay in a crate for 2-4 hours at a time, as they can’t hold it as long. 

How do I crate train my dog?

A. Crate training can take up to 6 months and requires patience and persistence. It involves slowly getting your dog used to their crate with positive reinforcement. 

What’s the best dog crate to buy?

Top dog crate

Midwest Homes for Pets Life Stages Folding Metal Crate

What you need to know: This is a rugged, well-made crate that collapses for easy storage. 

What you’ll love: This crate comes in six different sizes and can be set up without any extra tools. The bolt and latch system is tamper-free, and the crate comes with a 1-year warranty. 

What you should consider: This crate is heavier than other similar models. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


Top dog crate for the money

Petmate Two-Door Top Load Kennel

What you need to know: A great crate for dogs under 20 pounds, this crate has a top latch to allow you to pet or soothe your dog. 

What you’ll love: This is a well-constructed dog crate with solid plastic sides and two doors. It’s available in two different sizes and three different colors. 

What you should consider: The assembly might be difficult, and some reviews note discrepancies in the listed dimensions. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel

What you need to know: This dog crate is a good choice for a pet owner who wants something versatile. 

What you’ll love: This crate is perfect for air travel, as it meets most airline carriers’ requested specifications, and for at-home training. It’s made of durable recycled plastic and has a wire door. 

What you should consider: Putting this crate together and taking it apart is difficult. 

Where to buy: Amazon, Chewy and Petsmart


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Morgan Freeman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: